While you may have never heard of Gdańsk, rest assured: this is one of Europe’s top vacation spots. Our Gdańsk itinerary not only brings you to the very beginning of WWII—the first shots of the war occurred just 20 minutes north of Gdańsk’s downtown—but it delivers you to one of the most spectacular seaside towns we’ve been to. Replete with museums, beaches, river walks, and some of Poland’s finest dining, this Gdańsk itinerary highlighting the best of the city is not one to disappoint.
Don’t let the city’s small size deceive you. While the compact city center may make it look easy to tackle every attraction Gdańsk offers in just two or three days, we found that five or six days are probably ideal to experience most major Gdański sites. But don’t fret if you’re only seaside for two days: with our Gdańsk itinerary you can not only have an incredible time in Gdańsk but you can also see some of Europe’s most stunning and heartrending sights.
So, follow along carefully, because we’re about to lay out the whirlwind tour that is the perfect Gdańsk itinerary.
Embrace the outdoors as you soak up Gdańsk’s culture on the first day of your two-day itinerary.
Morning: Walk around the Old Town
This one’s a no-brainer. No visit to Gdańsk would be complete without spending a morning exploring the Old Town. After grabbing breakfast at Pikawa Café or Kafëbë, explore the riverside walk and the square around Neptune’s fountain. The wealth of gelato shops may prove the best after-breakfast event of the day, and if you’re really feeling up for a challenge, take 30 minutes to climb the 400 stairs of St. Mary’s Basilica, just north of City Hall.
Afternoon: A trip to the beach
A twenty minute Uber northwest of Old Town, the best place to spend your second morning in Gdańsk is at Brzeźno Beach. Not only is the beach much less busy in the morning, but the waves and wind are calm and you can explore the beach’s piers in the solemn silence of the sunrise. And if swimming and romantic walks aren’t enough for you, take some time to sit back and enjoy watching the plethora of windsurfers who set out to dominate the sea every morning. If you’re really courageous, maybe you’ll even take a lesson and try out windsurfing yourself.
Evening: Explore the nightlife in Protokultura
If, by any chance, you’re visiting Gdańsk on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, it’s necessary that you make the mile trek northwest of Old Town and visit Protokultura and 100cznia for one of the most amazing nights of your life. A complex of bars, restaurants, and dance floors sprawling over a massive abandoned shipyard complete with old cargo containers, the night never ends at this post-apocalyptic paradise.
On the second day of your Gdańsk itinerary, learn about the city’s history to better understand the culture and its people.
Morning: Visit the Museum of the Second World War
This is the museum all other museums should be modelled on. Flawlessly integrating videos, artifacts, immersive environments, and english info-dumps, the Museum of the Second World War proves the perfect laid-back break after exploring Old Town. And if you’re only going to visit one of Gdańsk’s many museums, this should undoubtedly be the one.
Afternoon: Visit the walkable ruins of Westerplatte
It’s common knowledge that in 1939 Germany invaded Poland and started the worldwide conflict that would become WWII. What most people don’t realize is that Germany actually invaded Poland at Gdańsk, and more specifically, at Westerplatte, a small peninsula 20 minutes north of Old Town — making this the perfect stop to hit after visiting the beach. Prepare for an incredibly touching walk: you can practically feel the bravery of the 200 Polish soldiers who held off 3,500 Germans for an entire week, prompting historians to call the Battle of Westerplatte the “Polish Thermopylae.”
Evening: Go on a sunset stroll along the riverside
Your last night in Gdańsk is a great time to spend just taking in the raw beauty of this city from the past. A walk along the river’s east and west coasts yields more great restaurant options than you could ask for, as well as some of the best sight-seeing and Insta-opportunities you’re likely to find in Poland. And as the sun sets and the red, white, blue, green, and yellow buildings begin to reflect in the still water, you can watch as Gdańsk literally unfolds a liquid rainbow before your eyes.